FC PLATINUM . . . . . 1
MUtare City . . . . . 1
BY SPORTS REPORTERS
FC PLATINUM missed the chance to go five points clear at the top of the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League table after they were held to a one-all draw by Mutare City Rovers at Mandava Stadium yesterday.
The platinum miners needed an equaliser courtesy of a header by Young Warriors skipper Nqobizitha Masuku just before the half hour mark after Mutare City had stormed into an early lead through a converted penalty by striker Agrippa Murimba inside the first 10 minutes.
Mutare City, who are now without a defeat in their last five matches, made life hard for the home side and could have taken the lead when defender Ian Nekati almost headed Wonder Sithole’s corner kick past his goalkeeper in the seventh minute.
The visitors opened the scoring in the ninth minute, courtesy of a converted penalty by Murimba after Kelvin Moyo was adjudged to have handled inside the box by match referee Ruzive Ruzive.
The veteran striker calmly converted the spot kick past Petros Mhari to put his charges in the driving seat against their more fancied opponents.
The Mutare City goal was a rude awakening for the hosts who could have taken the lead three minutes earlier when Charles Sibanda’s audacious flick just missed the upright.
Chinyengetere also failed to hit the target from a close range freekick, but the former Hwange player made amends in the 28th minute when his corner kick was headed home by Masuku.
Meanwhile, at Ascot Stadium under-fire ZPC Kariba coach Sunday Chidzambwa heaved a huge sigh of relief after ending an eight-match winless streak edging hosts Chapungu 1-0 yesterday.
Left-back Dexter Phiri scored the all-important goal in the 62nd minute after going on a solo run, before whipping in a cross which deflected off Agrippa Peperere to beat Roy Mazingi on the near side.
“This is a crucial victory for us because it brings back the confidence. We had been playing well in the previous games, but it was unfortunate that we were not winning. The players were beginning to lose confidence because they could not understand where they were getting it wrong. It now gives us focus going forward,” said Chidzambwa.
The decisive moment of the match came when Phiri made a move from the back, evading attention of Chapungu players before his effort on the far side came off Peperere to dip over Mazingi on the near post.
The defeat was a bitter pill for Chapungu coach John Nyikadzino, who was hoping for consistency at home after posting wins over Chicken Inn and Triangle in the past matches.
“We had hoped to continue winning at home but we got punished after failing to utilise our own chances. We had some chances in the first, but we failed to score and they had theirs in the second half and they scored. Such is football; if you don’t score, you get punished and lose,” said Nyikadzino.